An overcast morning with a light to moderate SW wind, overnight conditions were similar.
According to The Bird of Sussex it equals the earliest county record, also at Beachy Head on 2nd April 2002.
I visited the old trapping area, Belle Tout and Birling Gap. The real surprise of the morning was hearing the familiar insect like song of a Grasshopper Warbler from a pitiful patch of brambles right next to the road below Belle Tout, certainly my earliest ever. The bird showed briefly but mainly sang concealed in cover. Quite remarkably this is my first on the headland since 2017! Although there was no shortage of sightings and birds trapped last autumn I failed to see a single one.
Looking towards Belle Tout from Shooter’s this morning.
A trickle of c40 Meadow Pipit arrived from the south, 80 Linnet (the bulk of which was a flock of c50 in the set aside field, which had increased to 70+ birds by dusk). Obvious migrants included c10 Chiffchaff in various spots and a singing Willow Warbler in Belle Tout Wood, 2 female type Black Redstarts in the vicinity of the lighthouse, a single Redwing in the wood. RE also had a singing Sedge Warbler in the Hollow. A cursory glance out to see from the top Birling Lane produced a passing flock of c35 Brent Geese, whilst a pair of Shelduck were still checking out the cliff top rabbit holes as potential nests sites. A lone Peregrine and single Sparrowhawk also noted.